Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty and members of the City Council honored an employee who went "above and beyond" her regular duties to produce a guide for new residents.
Laurie Dawson, a secretary in the city's Department of Public Works, was recognized during Monday's council meeting.
Dougherty read a proclamation in Dawson's honor as she stood before the council with her husband, mother, brother and sister-in-law behind her.
"I know the amount of stress and strain that office holds," the mayor told Dawson, acknowledging her daily duties of communicating with Havre de Grace residents.
Council President Randy Craig and Public Works Director Larry Parks were also present for the ceremony.
Dougherty noted Dawson strives "to find new and improved ways" to communicate with residents who contact Public Works.
"It's a pleasure to have you in that office," he said.
Dawson "spent every spare moment" producing the city's "Welcome Home! Havre de Grace Citizens' Resource Guide."
The mayor introduced the guide during the Oct. 7 council meeting. The 31-page booklet is a resource for new residents and contains information on city services, municipal contacts, local employment opportunities, local schools and recreational and cultural opportunities.
An electronic copy can be found on the city's website at http://www.havredegracemd.com/resourceguide free printed copies are available at City Hall, the Police Department, Visitor Center, Havre de Grace Library or at the Lewis Lane Activity Center.
Parks praised Dawson's positive attitude, work ethic and inventive nature.
"When she doesn't have something to do, she finds something to do," Parks said.
Dawson was also congratulated by members of the council during the period of the meeting reserved for council member comments.
"What a true, true gem she is," Councilman David Glenn said. "Her can-do attitude and her tireless dedication is matched by very few people."
Craig said later that the council does not honor city employees on a regular basis, but does recognize "from time to time" those who have gone well beyond their normal duties.
Manager of Tourism Brigitte Peters was honored in May for her work in bringing the city War of 1812 celebration to fruition.
Thousands of people came to Havre de Grace for the celebration weekend, which included a re-enactment of the British invasion of the city in 1813, 200 years prior.
License agreement approved
The council members voted 5-0 in favor of authorizing the mayor to enter into a license agreement with the operators of the Lorien Havre de Grace Skilled Nursing Center, in order to allow the placement of a sign in the city's right-of-way along Route 40.
The nursing center is operated by Lorien Health Systems; the company is headquartered in Ellicott City and operates assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities across Central Maryland.
Harford County Lorien facilities can also be found in Bel Air and Belcamp, according to the company website.
Craig, who introduced the license agreement, said the sign would "promote their business very well, for our citizens, for the City of Havre de Grace."
"I would encourage you to support this, as it does support a new business," he told his fellow council members.
Councilman Fred Cullum was absent Monday.
Craig said after the meeting that the city-owned right of way along Route 40 is set aside as a utility easement, and the license agreement gives Lorien officials the ability to place the sign there.
City leaders must ensure the sign will not be placed near a utility line, and the sign must be moved, if necessary, during utility work, Craig explained.
Council members also voted 5-0 in favor of an application from the Havre de Grace Recreation Committee to hold the Annual Halloween Parade on Oct. 30.
Setup for the event, which is designed to be a Halloween celebration as well as a costume parade, will begin at 5:15 p.m., said Shyla Glassman, executive assistant to the mayor.
Break down will be at 8:30 p.m., Glassman said.
The event will take place at Congress Avenue and Washington Street.
Registration for the parade begins at 6 p.m. and the parade is at 6:30 p.m., according to the events calendar on the Havre de Grace tourism website.
"It's your neighbors and friends and family out in their costumes," Craig said.
Police Chief Teresa Walter and council members urged city residents to remain safe on Halloween.
Walter said the hours for trick or treating in the city on Halloween night, Oct. 31, will be from 6 to 8 p.m.
The police chief encouraged parents to ensure their children's costumes fit them, are short enough to avoid entangling their feet and that their masks do not obstruct their vision.
She also encouraged homeowners to make sure the areas around the house and front porches are well lit and clear of any obstructions such as toys or hoses, and pets are secured, and to check their candy before giving it to trick or treaters.
"Please be very cautious this holiday," Walter said.
Tribute to Michael Smith
The mayor and council members also paid tribute to the late Michael Smith, the husband of Billee Smith, who served as president of Havre de Grace Main Street Inc. and owns Distinctive Decor Ltd. downtown.
Mr. Smith died Oct. 11 at age 64.
"Billee and Michael epitomized a Havre de Grace couple," Councilman Bill Martin said. "They were involved in everything they could be involved in and they had a can-do spirit that was a good model."
Dougherty recalled a funeral for Mr. Smith that was filled with laughter, to celebrate the life of a "loving man who thought the world of his family and of his wife."
"It was laughter because his life was being celebrated," the mayor said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun